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Steve Barbeaux

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Seattle, WA, US

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Greenhorns

by

Steve Barbeaux

Wafting through angry skies
gulls call names of fishers
bitten by the storm
young eyes follow every move
duty left aside
a moments lapse, a lifetime lived
the end is close at hand.

Mountains cascading
with brine capped peaks
echo a fluid emerald roar
while men made old mock
young men’s follies
Look the fuck up!
Daydreaming greenhorns
caressed by Hemingway’s whore.


A Husband's Lament

by

Steve Barbeaux

When the pendulum swings back from manic
are you going to be there?
or is she then alone,
promises lying broken,
wondering where it went wrong,
contemplating trips with the son of Nyx.

Tears flow easily in times of utter uselessness,
knowing that this is what woke you at night,
taste of copper on your tongue,
seeing her mother's face peeking around the corner of her mind.

"Inevitable", the word gives little comfort if you remain unprepared,
"We will deal with it if it gets worse" is meaningless if "we" no longer exists
watching, ignoring, hoping the beast in the closet quiets down,
but knowing in your heart that it is inevitable.
The beast will break its bonds and have its day in the sun,
leaving only shards of a life once valued.
Is there glue strong enough to put shattered dreams back together?

I Miss Africa

by

Steve Barbeaux

Red dirt, hard rain
washing goat shit from the yard
tin roofs, like a million drums
pound the silence from your ears
brown faces full of laughter,
bellies full of worms.

Sweet matango, crazy marabous
making old men smile from drawings on the ground
stories of mommy wata, lying silently
waiting for a feast
smell of monkey in the calabass,
fufu on the side.

Tikondi I, under the mangos
showing graves open to the air
bones like coffee, in the courtyard
drying in the sun
"La SIDA n’existe pas" on the radio,
false hope, no one left to hear.

Sunday in the Park

by

Steve Barbeaux

Slow dance across the dusty plain of my mind,
A bleak landscape emptied by a night of scotch and cigarettes.
Remnants of tobacco and skunked liquor resting on my tongue,
breath of Cerberus wafting from my mouth,
like the half-truths the night before, poisoning the air,
maiming all who dare come too close.
Involuntary pulses at my temples beat like African drums,
making my stomach lurch to the internal celebration of self destruction.

A boy on a swing exclaiming his joy
screeches like a dental drill hollowing out the cavity of my mind.
Each cry a lightening flash illuminating thoughts poorly hidden by Dionysus.
Emotional torrents wet the dusty plain into an impassable morass
I sink into the quagmire of regret.
Smell of hotdogs roasting in open air,
making bile rise to the surface, pulling me from the muddy abyss,
the swamp of broken promises fails to claim another soul, at least for today.

The Phantom

by

Steve Barbeaux

Lonely nights, grey mood in summer blue
the memory of her drifting into my mind.
A restless spirit shattering the peace of forgetting
the lost love that never lived
a figment, a trick of the candle light on naked bodies
perception’s reality, filtered by countless lies.

The Battle Lost

by

Steve Barbeaux

I miss her stories of a day passed, told because of some need to connect,
to say we matter, the world passes us by, but we exist as one.
Nightly monologues of minutiae that I once thought brought us closer.
Listening to her tell of daily adventures, storming the corporate castle,
no prisoners taken, no leave given in the modern cubicle battlefield.
The modern warrior princess wielding a laptop and a sharpened tongue,
slaying the enemies of the corporation for God and country.
Great tales told highlighting the follies of colleagues
rushing towards some imagined glory
without taking heed to those they injure,
planting banners in hillsides strewn with the remains of their broken marriages and shattered minds.

Not realizing we were a casualty, until far too late.